Money Matters - Simplified

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Business

Aussies eye China for kangaroo meat sales

Brisbane, Australia -- Australia is looking to China as a new market for its kangaroo meat, an industry official says.

A delegation of Chinese agricultural officials has arrived in Australia to investigate the nation's kangaroo production systems. John Kelly of the Kangaroo Industries Association said he is hoping exports of kangaroo meat to China for use by restaurants will be approved following the visit.

Part of the problem of getting Chinese to warm up to the idea of eating kangaroo meat is linguistic, Kelly said. It may be a good idea to come up with another Chinese word for kangaroo since the one they use now "loosely translates to 'bloody big rat with a pouch,'" he said.

Money woes force cancellation of parade

Orlando, Fla. -- The 2010 Orlando Christmas Parade has been canceled because of money problems, organizers in Florida said.

Organizers said it will be replaced by a smaller event called the Santa Farewell Festival, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

"With better economic times ahead, the parade will hopefully return in 2011," parade producer Teri Boardman said. "Thank you to all past participants and parade supporters."

Boardman said dwindling sponsorship forced her to cancel the 2010 edition of the parade, which is not funded by the city.

"It all comes down to sponsors equal money to pay city [fees]," Boardman said.

Custer's flag sells for $1.9M at auction

New York -- One of U.S. Gen. George Armstrong Custer's battle flags, left on the field of the Little Bighorn by the Indians, didn't win much respect from collectors either.

The cavalry guidon, a military standard, drew a mere $1.9 million, much less than expected, at an auction at Sotheby's in New York Friday, USA Today reported. The price fell below the low-end presale estimate of $2 million, despite predictions it might go for as much as $5 million.

Sotheby's described the flag as a "silk guidon with a field of 13 red and white stripes and a canton of blue with 35 applied gold stars, with a swallow-tail design at free edge; some fraying, splits, and tears; some running of color; staining, including, evidently, blood stains."

Illinois tops worst retirement states list

Washington -- Some traditional U.S. retirement destinations didn't fare too well in a Web site's rankings of the 10 worst golden-years states.

TopRetirements.com ranked sunny California second on the list behind No. 1 Illinois, while Arizona and Florida received honorable mention.

California earned points for climate, but the cost of living and the state's dicey financial situation trumped the warm weather. Florida and Arizona were also dinged for their sputtering economies.

Germany says it will stand behind euro

Berlin -- German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said Germany would stand behind the euro, despite its opposition to a joint European bond issuance.

"All European countries are determined to keep this European currency stable, and we have the means to do it," Schauble said, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Schauble said, "Sometimes it takes crises so that Europe moves forward. In this crisis, Europe will find steps toward further unification."

The eurozone shares a common currency, but each of the 16 countries that use the euro has independent fiscal responsibilities.

Estonia, without qualms, to join eurozone

Brussels -- Estonian President Toomas Ilves said now is as good a time as any to join the eurozone, despite the economic region's debt crisis.

"I don't know if there is a good time or a bad time to join the euro, but it's quite clear that it is in our interest to join the eurozone," he said in an interview in Brussels, EUobserver reported Saturday.

"It will boost business confidence, investor confidence and also the well-being and confidence of our people," he said.

Government balked at egg regulations

Washington -- U.S. egg producers were on board with tighter regulations well before this summer's salmonella outbreak, a former Washington lobbyist for the industry said.

The United Egg Producers, a trade group, initially resisted regulations after President Bill Clinton made it a priority in 1999, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Then, the group caved. "We were going to be regulated. This was going to happen and the industry had to respond," said former chief lobbyist Ken Klippen.

Even then, regulations were delayed by philosophical differences and regulatory turf wars that held back regulations until 1,900 people fell ill with salmonella poisoning, the newspaper said.

Government balked at egg regulations

Washington -- U.S. egg producers were on board with tighter regulations well before this summer's salmonella outbreak, a former Washington lobbyist for the industry said.

The United Egg Producers, a trade group, initially resisted regulations after President Bill Clinton made it a priority in 1999, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Then, the group caved. "We were going to be regulated. This was going to happen and the industry had to respond," said former chief lobbyist Ken Klippen.

Even then, regulations were delayed by philosophical differences and regulatory turf wars that held back regulations until 1,900 people fell ill with salmonella poisoning, the newspaper said.

U.S. firms fend off cyber-attacks

New York -- Cyber attackers brashly said they were aiming to disrupt, but not disable, U.S. company Web sites to protest recent treatment of Internet firm WikiLeaks.

"We do not want to steal your personal information or credit card numbers. We do not seek to attack critical infrastructure of companies such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal or Amazon," said an online posting by a group called Anonymous, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

"Our current goal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by the above companies to impair WikiLeaks' ability to function," the posting said.

Food prices in China up 11.7 percent

Beijing -- China said Saturday its consumer price index rose 5.1 percent on an annual basis in November with food prices climbing 11.7 percent.

Core prices, which exclude food, rose 1.9 percent from November to November, CNNMoney.com reported.

On Friday, the People's Bank of China raised its reserve requirement for banks 0.5 percent after customs officials said exports had increased 35 percent over the past 12 months and imports were up 38 percent.

Analysts expect the bank will take further steps to slow the economy and curb the inflationary trend. Last week, China said it would aim for a more "prudent" monetary policy next for 2011.

In contrast, the annual CPI is about 1.2 percent in the United States.